I started going to the West Indian Day Parade in the 90’s. As with most teenagers it involved wanting to hang out with friends and trying to pick up a date. During the mid 90’s, Crown Heights was a predominately West Indian neighborhood – it had its own pace, slang, and vibe. The New York Times hadn’t yet discovered Brooklyn allowing the Parade to be part of the neighborhood and vice versa.
Today, gentrification has pushed many of the original parade goers out of the neighborhoods they helped build; seeing the Parade bring out anywhere from 2-3 million revelers every year is a reminder that the Parade is still about the community. As rent prices continue to soar and the community continues to be pushed out, I wish I would’ve appreciated the Parade more when I was younger and began photographing it sooner.
Check out the full gallery below.